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Drivers must change road behaviour

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Rodney Ragbir of DriveWise giving a client some tips as he works on the DriveWise simulator. PHOTO: RESHMA RAGOONATH

Better driver behaviour can curb the increasing number of road deaths in T&T and that behaviour begins with young people. 

This is the belief of DriveWise Trinidad managing director Rodney Ragbir, who ran a special driver safety course during the July/August school vacation at the organisation’s Piarco headquarters. 

Ragbir, in a recent interview with the T&T Guardian, said he continues to be disturbed by the number of deaths from road traffic accidents, something that can be avoided. 

“You do not hear of accidents happening because your brakes failed or because your steering fell off or you (got) a flat tyre and so on. The majority of accidents happen because of driver behaviour. It is the easiest problem or challenge to address, but we just need to take a different approach to it,” he said. 

DriveWise was launched in March 2014 and is located at 150 BWIA Boulevard, Piarco, and is affiliated with DriveWise Canada, which has been in existence for 30 years in Canada.

Rabgir said DriveWise is an interactive driver education training facility. 

“We take a modern approach to driver education. We have an interactive classroom where all of our presentations are done via projectors as well as animation, videos and high-quality slides. All of our testing is done via an audience response system where we do not single out any student.”

He said educating the public, especially young people and experienced people, is key to changing driver behaviour on the nation’s roads.

“Why is it some drivers reach home safe in wet weather and others did not? Because it is your behaviour, if you drive at 80 km when it is dry you should not be doing 80 km when it is wet. The conditions are more treacherous and dangerous. You should slow it down and that is all driving behaviour. Driving aggressively, that is driver behaviour,” he said.

DriveWise allows student drivers and those wanting to practise safe driving to use simulators. 

These simulators, Ragbir said, are programmed to help students learn how to respond to situations and even create situations that will test a driver’s skill. 

“The beauty of the simulator is we can create situations and actually teach you how to get out of dangerous situations. We can put them (students) in a dangerous situation without putting them in danger. We do this in a safe and secure environment,” he said.

Ragbir said it is hard to co-ordinate hand and eye in the very beginning in the simulator, but by constant training “you find that after many hours in the simulator your driving skills have peaked. They become phenomenal.” 

He said at DriveWise students develop more proactive than reactive driving skills. 

“We show you the visual cues and hazards that lead up to an accident so our drivers are ready for it. You are not being taken by surprise, you do not have to rely on response time, you are very conscious,” Ragbir said. Ragbir, who is also the managing director of Professional Airline Training solutions, said the idea for DriveWise came from training commercial pilots where they use a variety of flight simulators.

He added that at DriveWise, “we are actually moulding the minds of our drivers from a young age. We are creating good driver behaviour.

Research has found that driver behaviour is the cause of 95 per cent of collisions. It’s down to driver behaviour.”


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